Visited on: Thursday 14th June 2018
Wheat Ridge is one of those small cities that pepper the outer borders of the City of Denver. It is in the Northwest, east of Edgewater, north of Lakewood and south of Arvada. Without appearing to be too dismissive of it, I do have to say that it has no discernible centre. Its City Hall is located on Wadsworth Boulevard with just the company of a church and a cemetery.
However, it has one deviation from the norm. Along with its next door neighbour, the City of Edgewater, it is the street sign’s colours that are so controversial.
Throughout the USA they have white lettering on a dark green background. Yet in Wheat Ridge (and Edgewater) we find the almost unspeakable. The signs have sky blue lettering on a white background, why should these cities be so unconventional? What gives them the power to be so risqué when their most interesting feature is the Brewery Rickoli, the subject of this piece?
Having sussed that Wheat Ridge is not the most exciting place on the planet, we arrived at Brewery Rickoli with no great expectations, how wrong! Basically it’s a neighbourhood bar without much of a neighbourhood around it. Yet it certainly caters well for its customers. We went there twice and on our first visit we listened to a good band and drank cask beer. You can’t beat that!
The pub opened on 28th November 2012. Its inspiration comes from Rick Abitbol, who had been a brewer in the greater Denver area for some time.
He was a brewer at Rock Bottom in Centennial for eight years and also at Renegade Brewing. He was able to get the whole thing set up for less than $80,000 and started with a half barrel (bbl) brewery. Latterly he has a new plant with a three barrel (bbls) capacity. This has enabled him to can some of the product and it is now to be found in many Denver liquor stores and supermarkets.
We approached the pub from the bus stop and entered through a central door passing through a small outside patio. The pub is quite small and inside you will find chairs with shelves looking out towards Wadsworth Boulevard. There are some very nice hop cone-shaped light shades here. On the left side of the room is the bar counter. On the right side is a shelf with many tall chairs. The rest of the space is occupied by tables and chairs of light wood. It can officially hold forty-nine customers.
Rick specialises in reduced gluten beers without using sorghum as a substitute. He uses barley malt as usual but adds a special agent that binds with the gluten and then drops it out of the beer.
Although it is not completely clear of gluten, he thinks it should be tolerable to normal beers to those with Celiac disease. I thought the beers were very clean tasting, perhaps as a result of this.
There were quite a few beers on offer as follows: Venn Faw Red Hefeweizen (6.5%0; Rye Stout (7.0%); Aldo’s Red (5.5%), an Altbier; Vanilla Rye Stout (7.0%); Elke’s Brown Ale (6.8%]; Social Lubricant Scotch Ale (7.0%) and MEH Cream Ale (4.3%).
When we asked for a flight selection of beers they offered a “Hoppy Flight” and it contained none of the beers previously looked at.
The new selection with our comments was as follows: Hop Session IPA (5.0%) had a very strong bitter taste for a session ale (65 IBU); Totally Eye-P-A (6.8%) was a typical IPA yet with little of a bitter after taste.
We continued with Black Pline (9.8%) which was an Imperial Black IPA with 170 IBU (I think not) that had a dark peppery taste with some malt coming through, it was very good.
Finally there was Otatik (13.0%) with 420 IBU (No!) that was very sweet, like a barley wine, with just a hint of hops in the body and after taste. Then we had the star of the show: Authoritah (7.4%) from the cask served by a hand pump on the end of the bar. It is a red ale and was quite true to the style, although not at 120 IBU as advertised. It was stronger than the usual Irish style, yet really good nevertheless. I had a pint and then another. A cask beer following a day of keg is so pleasurable.
This is not a gourmet food venue, offering (previously) frozen pizzas although food can be delivered from surrounding restaurants. However it is a welcome addition to the Wheat Ridge beer scene and it is very good at that. Not to be missed if you’re in this part of the Denver Metropolitan area.
Brewery Rickoli, 4335 Wadsworth Boulevard, Wheat Ridge, Colorado 80033. Tel: 303 344 8988
Hours: Monday 15.00-21.00; Tuesday-Thursday 15.00-22.00;
Friday-Saturday 12.00-23.00; Sunday 12.00-20.00
The 44 bus route runs east to west along 44th Avenue and the 76 north to south along Wadsworth Boulevard. The 44 runs from 40th and Colorado station (RTD line A) in the east and to Wheat Ridge in the west. The RTD A line runs from Denver International Airport to Denver Union Station.
The 44 bus route is very useful as it travels through the RINO district with its many breweries and brew-pubs. It goes through the city centre on 15th and 17th Streets then goes north till it reaches 44th Avenue.
Coming from Denver you alight at the West 44th Avenue and Wadsworth Boulevard Far Side bus stop.
Walk back to the Wadsworth Boulevard intersection and cross over 44th Avenue and go down Wadsworth.
The pub is on the right. The 44 runs half hourly on weekdays, hourly from 19.00, and hourly at weekends.
The 76 bus runs north to south from Broomfield via Arvada and Wheat Ridge to South Lakewood.
The northbound stop is Wadsworth Boulevard and West 44th Avenue. Walk south to the 44th Avenue junction. Cross to the other side of Wadsworth Boulevard and you will soon see the pub.
The southbound stop has the same name and is situated directly outside the pub.
On weekdays the 76 runs half-hourly to 22.00, hourly thereafter.
On Saturdays it is every 30 minutes to 20.00. After that it is hourly.
On Sundays the overall service is hourly. On the middle section from Arvada Olde Town to Lakewood Commons only (includes Rickoli’s) it is half hourly from 07.00 to 19.00.